Question: Are chainsaws safe for a homeowner to use?
Answer: I’ve never seen a chainsaw leap off the ground to attack a person. Unlike a dog tied to a tree, chainsaws don’t get meaner when neglected. Tools, like hammers, knives, lawn mowers and chainsaws, are developed for a purpose. Chainsaws have an engine, and therefore are considered “power tools.” The “power” of a tool generally dictates how injurious it can be when it is used incorrectly.
According to the American Red Cross, it is not the chainsaw that causes injuries. It is the environment in which the chainsaw is used (http://www2.redcross.org/pubs/dspubs/chainsaw.pdf). This modern interpretation of “what happened” may not be enough to prevent a homeowner from getting hurt.
When examining the types of injuries, the predominant injury is caused by the moving chain (http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/naturalresources/DD2487.html). Duh! Not only does this make sense, but these types of injuries are usually preventable. Most of these injuries are due to operator error. A small percentage of these accidents are due to mechanical malfunction like a chain breaking and wrapping around your arm. The incidence and severity of this type of injury can be reduced by the use of proper safety equipment.
The most severe injuries, including death, are typically caused by a dead limb or a tree falling on the sawyer (chainsaw operator not Tom). Again, the responsibility seems to be falling on the operator (pun intended).
Homeowners are often injured when they fall while cutting from an unstable platform like a flimsy ladder, 5 gallon bucket or lawn chair. These injuries are sometimes included in the “moving chain” category, because the chainsaw is also falling and often lands on the operator.
Chainsaws can be very useful tools when pruning limbs, removing trees, cutting firewood or cleaning up storm damage. There is no license required to operate this tool. Therefore, the responsibility for safe operation of this tool squarely rests on the operator. Like a nail GUN or any other tool a person can buy, safety should be an issue. The best form of protection comes through education. Understanding how to use tools properly is a fundamental part of safety.
For more info on chainsaws, visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ageng/safety/ae1025w.htm If you don’t have access to the internet, then call me at 910-893-7530 or email me at email@example.com
There are many decisions made any time you use a chainsaw. Some are obvious and some are not. Bad decisions will ultimately lead to damage. Check out this “must see” educational video of James’s environment.
Harnett County Cooperative Extension